Respect.

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Moving to Melbourne after living in Canberra for a fair few years was exciting and hard on many different aspects. One major concern when I moved 1.5 years ago was friends. I had had the same friends for a while now, they were familiar and I was comfortable.

What I failed to realise when I was younger but understand now is the quality of the people you surround yourself with. 

Some of this, I realised during the last years of my undergraduate degree where I voluntarily drifted from the people who were toxic in my life. They added nothing but pain, they didn’t make me a better person and they definitely did not make me happy. 

It’s funny because when you are a child you struggle to differentiate good friends from bad friends. You just long to be friends with everyone, be loved and liked, most importantly, have someone to play with at lunch.

We are taught that having friends is important, but we are not taught how to be good friends or to tell the difference from good and bad friends. Or that it is okay to walk away without seeming weak. We are not taught how to respect ourselves and because of this so many children get hurt by their ‘friends’ everyday.

Because of this I only learnt to walk away from people who shouldn’t have had a place in my life, a few years ago.

Today, I find myself saying no to gatherings with people who I don’t feel my best self around without hesitation. Today I know that if I don’t find the quality in relationships, it probably isn’t worth my time. Today I know that if I am in doubt, the answer is probably no. Today I know how to respect myself but I wish I learnt that long time ago. 

This does not mean I do not give people a chance, I do, it just means I trust my intuition. It means I cherish every moment with people who make me happy, enlighten me and spark joy. And the ones who make me feel uncomfortable or put negative thoughts in my head, are kept a little further away.

I am sure that some people feel the same about me too, but that is okay.

The key is to show appreciation, love and respect to those who treat you with the same regard. The people who don’t like you? Well that’s okay, because no one can like everyone.

Quality over Quantity. 

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5 things I am grateful for today:

Lazy days in – I was supposed to do my assignment, I sort of did but it was mostly a lazy day in.

Youtube – Man, do you hold a wealth of free knowledge!

Coffee – I wasn’t drinking coffee for a while but the cold weather has sparked a new love for it!

Creativity – Just loving my creative thoughts lately.

Nature – while sitting in my bedroom, I observed the changing weather all day long, it was beautiful.

Till again ♥

Without you, there is no us.

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January 2016 – Sri Lanka

In times of stress and worry, I fail to look after myself. Sometimes the pressures of life make it seem as though you come last, everything else matters but you. I am here to tell you and myself that this is not true, even though you may feel otherwise.

Whatever your worries and/or stresses may be, there are some things we all have to do to take care of ourselves. Not only will these things alleviate your stress but also prompt you to formulate more logical, objective and structured answers to your problems.

  1. Eat – nourish your body to nourish your mind. Eating is vital. Your brain is already on overdrive in times of stress, not eating will cause a malfunction. So do not forget to eat. Balanced meals would be ideal, but eating in general is a good place to start. (unless you are a stress eater, which in this case probably doesn’t apply to you)
  2. Sleep – my simple rule when making big decisions or when trying to get through something, is sleep. No better way is there to shut yourself off for a few minutes or hours, to rest and settle and approach the problem with a better mindset.
  3. Go outside – extremely overlooked when stressed is nature and the calmness it can bring. I find going for a walk (doesn’t have to be long) and focusing on the sky, trees (especially leaves) and the weather extremely relaxing. It also puts things into perspective, that this world is full of great simple things, you just have to notice them.
  4. Take a shower or bath – this is almost ritualistic to me. After a really bad day or situation, I take a shower almost to signify getting rid of negative emotions and thoughts and moving on refreshed.
  5. Read a book – sometimes I know that my problems are small and easy to deal with but I am still upset and overwhelmed, I have a go to book called ‘Opening the Door of Your Heart: And Other Buddhist Tales of Happiness’ by Ajahn Brahm who is an English buddhist monk that writes short thoughtful, quirky and light stories that gives you a change of heart. That is just my go to, whatever works for you is good.
  6. Journal/write things down – Externalising your feelings and thoughts is so helpful when you are overwhelmed and confused. You can reflect on what you have written and even make your own prompts/questions to answer, to better understand how you are feeling. I journal a few times a week and this space is also an outlet for me, writing what I am going through is a release.

 

And those are my 6 strategies that may or may not work for you, but they work for me. There are many others and not every problem in life can be solved with these. I acknowledge some problems are extremely complex and terrible, but for day to day get downs, these work well.

Take care of yourself and love yourself, you are important. 

Yes!

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I recently challenged myself, not in a big way but a small one that matters to me. I said yes to something I wouldn’t have ever considered a few years back. I suppose that is what growing up is all about.

A friend who is part of a committee, recently asked if I would be interested in speaking about my volunteering experiences at a university event. Surprisingly, I didn’t think twice about it and said yes!

With that one small word, I bound myself to a commitment, one that I cannot passover or change my mind about last minute. What surprised me more than my response is that I was asked in the first place. It sparked joy (remember those moments of joy I was talking about in an earlier post, this is it!).

Leading up to this speech, I was worried, hesitant, a little nervous mostly because I was underprepared and wondered whether I would make a fool of myself in front of strangers.

The day before my speech, I sent it to my friend so she could have a look over it, for feedback and advice. I was worried she would hate it and wouldn’t know how to tell me not to speak at all. That wasn’t the case, I was being extremely harsh on my self, she said it was ‘awesome!’.

On the day I hadn’t practiced much but I didn’t feel nervous at all. I was confident. I don’t quite know why I felt so sure of myself at that point in time but I was, I trusted myself. 

The speech went smoothly, I wasn’t speaking too fast, I made eye contact, I saw a few smiles amongst the crowd, I felt good.

I used to hate public speaking, everything about it frightened me. I am proud of myself for saying yes, for speaking voluntarily, for taking on the challenge, for trying something different and most importantly trusting myself.

I urge all of you to try something different. you will be giving yourself the gift of growing, learning and believing in yourself. 

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Avocados – delicious!
  2. Youtube videos – Some youtubers make great content and are so inspirational!
  3. Days off – lately I have been exhausted, today is a day off to myself.
  4. Clean homes – my home is not clean, it is everywhere, I hate untidy spaces but I am so tired of always cleaning and am trying to give myself a break. So grateful when homes are clean.
  5. Books – I work with books while at work and I truly feel at peace being surrounded by them!

Till again!

Homelessness.

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Yesterday was a horrendous day, meteorologically. Heavy rain, hail and strong winds which ended up flooding some streets and train stations. Not a day where you want to leave the house at all.

I took a trip down to the local grocery shops when the weather calmed down to get some more soy milk. On the cold, damp pavement under minimal shelter, outside the store was a homeless woman.

The moment I saw her I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her situation. I walked into the store thinking I would buy something extra (bread or a pastry) to give to her on the way out. Her sign indicated that she was sleeping rough, the whole thing melted my heart.

I know there is a lot of homelessness, it’s sad and horrible and I can’t begin to imagine how difficult it is through the cold winter months.

I usually give change if I have some, not thinking about where that money will go. A few years ago I would have said that I wouldn’t want them using it on drugs and alcohol and I still don’t but what use will it be in thinking the worst of them. Yes, most of those individuals have ended up on the street from gambling, drug and alcohol problems and broken down families. Perhaps giving them money might mean that we continue to feed the system, a cycle of homelessness but at the same time maybe that person will go buy some food, or find a place to stay, how do we know? who are we to judge? we can’t assume their past.

No one chooses to be homeless. Yes, a series of decisions and actions may have brought them into this situation but we all make mistakes. I know the majority will say ‘well I would have stopped gambling or taking drugs ages ago if I knew I would end up homeless, it’s obvious, they brought this upon themselves’. But again it is extremely easy to say something like that when you are not in the situation and you are privileged enough to come from a loving family, with stability and grow up in a good environment, with great friends and education. In saying that there are plenty of us that don’t have all those things and don’t end up on the street, but everyone is unique and different. Somewhere in between, homeless individuals lost their way, they didn’t receive the support, the love/attention or didn’t have someone to just listen.

We all have a story. We should all remind ourselves that homeless individuals are people, they have lives, they have feelings and they are finding someway to survive. If surviving to them means short term gratification such as smoking, who are we to judge. A moment of happiness when everything else has fallen apart.

These are my opinions on this topic. I know everyone has extremely different views, I know that there are bad people out there who have done bad things and are therefore homeless. I know you can’t fix someone but the best I can do is try to make a small change in that persons life, be it for a couple of seconds or minutes.

But to all those individuals sleeping rough in these winter months, I applaud you for your bravery and courage to keep on surviving. To wake up everyday and continue while bystanders can be rude and ignorant. You are all so resilient and I hope that one day you will get the support you need to pick yourselves back up again.

Friendship continued.

Further expanding on a previous post about friendship and people talking behind others backs, I realise that it is something that I too need to consider and refrain myself from at times.

I constantly state that nobody is perfect and in my lifetime have made countless mistakes – said the wrong things and hurt people without quite realising, or realising a second too late.

I like to think that the majority tries their best to be good people, to be kind and value those around them.

A general rule when working with kids and defining boundaries that I have been told is to not tell a child anything that you wouldn’t tell in front of their parents/guardians. This helps define when it is and isn’t appropriate to communicate certain things to a child.

In the same way, I want to make a pledge to myself where I will try my best to not say anything about anyone that I wouldn’t be comfortable saying in front of them. I don’t do this often but I will aim to be more aware of those times that go unnoticed.

Be the change you wish to see in the world. I can’t fix everyone around me but I can definitely start with improving myself. Although it sucks to be talked about by others, I want to stop doing it myself. It isn’t easy in the current world we live in, where everyone is so critical and hateful but we have got to start somewhere.

Death.

Death is the only thing in life that is certain, right? 

Reading Mark Manson’s book, ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F***’ gave me a different perspective. As a buddhist we are always told the life is ultimately a suffering, one problem is replaced by another problem as we go through life. Some problems better than other ones. Additionally, in buddhism they say to keep death in mind because everything is impermanent, knowing and accepting this simple fact allows us to be more present and  live life to the fullest.

Sometimes I have the mindset of ‘we are all going to die anyway, why does any of this matter’, I like that Mark Manson clarified that death doesn’t take life’s meaning away, it gives life meaning. Knowing that one day it will all come to an end allows us to live a better life whether you consciously register that or not.

Another thing he shed light on is that we can figure out what our goals are and be honest with ourselves when we decide ‘What we are willing to suffer for?’ This gave me a moment of clarity and shifted my mindset to the fact that problems will never go away, they are a part of life. Some problems we choose, others we don’t but if I actively decide which problems are worth my time, they aren’t a problem anymore. They are more challenges and a journey to whatever it is that I want to achieve.

This book has enlightened me and has also forced a way of honest thinking. From now on I will choose my problems when I can, make sure they have a purpose and are worth my time, taking full responsibility of them.

5 things I am grateful for today:

  1. Running – I have decided to start running with a friend a few times a week. I am by no means a runner, I puff out in 30 seconds however I am excited to see improvment!
  2. Books – my days have been bare and lonely but books are keeping me occupied, and I am loving every second of their company.
  3. My friends – It is important to take the time to think of those around you who love and support you along the way.
  4. Uni – I am very much excited to start university again, it has been a long holiday.
  5. Nature – Running outside is beautiful.

Till Tomorrow.

On becoming a Social Worker.

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Brighton Beach Melbourne Australia

I wanted to be an optometrist. Or at least I thought I wanted to be. When we are younger, we don’t really know what a profession involves, you respond to the question ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ with whatever seems to interest you at the time.

In year 7 I went on an excursion to the University of New South Wales, to the optic science section and something there really stuck with me and from then on till I got into a Bachelor of Psychology I wanted to be an optometrist.

Becoming an optometrist is hard work, between year 7 and year 12, I moved between 3 different schools and 2 different countries and states. I think in between all that, I lost the real drive for it. I didn’t work that hard, I don’t think I wanted it as much as I thought I did.

When I started university, I knew nothing about psychology, looking back I don’t even know why I applied but for whatever reason I did and it brought me to where I am now. I liked studying about the brain, I didn’t like research. At the end of my degree I didn’t have the passion to do honours. I wanted to be in mental health but psychology was not for me. I then did a post graduate diploma in counselling to pass some time and learn some more while working full time. By the end of that, I still felt like I wasn’t ready for the real world or real problems, so I decided to do a Masters in Social Work. Again, I had no idea what it really involved, just that it meant doing something good in this world and that appealed to me.

Currently, I am waiting for university to start so I can complete my last year and I know that this is the right profession for me. I know I will be good at it and I couldn’t be happier that I am doing what I want to do, not everyone gets that chance.

What really strikes me is that I am wanting to learn more and more about being a social worker through other means, by reading, watching documentaries and listening to podcasts, not just through lectures and textbooks. This is how I know that I am developing a passion & that I am genuinely interested. Knowing that I am growing warms my heart. 

I am thankful for all the uncertainty that brought me here and I am glad that my original plan never worked out. I know that this is where I am supposed to be. I also know that my options are endless and this is just a step to more growth and learning, who knows what I’ll be doing in 10 years? I can’t wait to find out. 

Things I have learnt:

  1. Failing a few subjects in university really did not make a difference to my life. At the time I was upset and worried but looking back it only made me a better person, it gain me a sense of reality – things aren’t always going to be great but it’s okay.
  2. Not having a plan is okay, better even. Going with the flow, making the most of all opportunities and learning to let go of expectations helps you grow as a person.
  3. The career you choose when you are 20 will probably not be the career you end up with when you are 50. Change will happen, embrace it.

5 things I was grateful for yesterday:

  1. Sushi – sushi is the best.
  2. Lying in bed doing nothing all day – I did read and watch a few shows, it was lazy and relaxing.
  3. Candles – you make everything smell so wonderful.
  4. Nature
  5. Being alive.